East Ridge is a rising power in the east metro but there was a time — not so long ago — when Stillwater set the standard by which all of the state’s boys’ soccer programs were measured. Remember when the Ponies won the 2016 Class 2A title, finished second in 2017 and then won it all again in 2018?
Even last season, when Stillwater stumbled to a 6-6-4 regular-season record, the Ponies were hardly a playoff pushover. Stillwater, which hasn’t had a losing season since 1983, gave eventual state runner-up East Ridge, the top seed in the Class 2A, Section 4 playoffs, an epic tussle before losing a section semifinal 3-1 last season, with the Raptors’ last goal coming in the game's final minute.
The teams meet again Tuesday with Stillwater, ranked No. 8 in the Class 2A coaches’ poll from Sept. 8, coming off a 7-0 blowout of Irondale. Senior Matt Folden leads Stillwater (2-0-2, 2-0-2) offensively with four goals.
East Ridge (3-1-0, 3-1-0) won its first three games of the season by shutout and features one of the state’s best goalkeepers in senior Nick Wagner, who posted 13 shutouts last season. The No. 5-2A Raptors are coming off a 1-0 loss on Sept. 10 to another east metro power in Woodbury.